Guest Post: Ford: How IT Put a Charge in EV Infrastructure
A few months ago I met Nancy Gioia, Director Global Electrification at Ford Motor Company, at a sustainability meeting in DC organized by the Trans-Atlantic Business Dialogue (TABD). Nancy’s comments at that meeting about the role of IT and telecommunications (ICT) in supporting the use of Electric Vehicles intrigued me then and still do now. In this guest post Mike Tinskey – Ford’s global manager for electric vehicle infrastructure – explains how ICT infrastructure will support the user experience.
While the 1990s don’t feel like too long ago, from a technology perspective it is light years behind where we are now – especially when looking at electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure. In the 1990s, you probably didn’t know where charging stations were located outside your city, and if you did know where to find one – you wouldn’t know if they were being used, how to get there, or even IF you could even get there.
Fast forward 20 years. Aside from an abundance of new electrified vehicles coming to market, what else has changed?
To put it simply, EV infrastructure has gotten “connected” and it has made a world of difference. Through advancements in IT, electric vehicles, like the new Focus Electric, can identify where charging stations are located and whether or not there is enough range to get there. There is even a way the car can communicate with the charging station to see if it is in use, make a payment, or select stations that can accept a reservation so you know the spot will be available when you get there.
At Ford, we are taking advantage of advancements in IT to build smarter electric vehicles as well as work with technology companies, utilities and municipalities to develop the best possible EV infrastructure in cities around the world.
How are we doing it?
By using the Ford EV “Cloud,” Ford is creating applications for drivers of our electric vehicles to allow them to use smartphones to reserve charging stations, pre-condition batteries, identify whether trips to stores or work are within range, and schedule charging during the lowest possible rates through a new value charging program.
A lot can happen in 20 years. In the EV world, there has been new battery chemistry and charging advancements, but it may be the impact of IT on infrastructure that helped put a charge in making these vehicles a viable driving option.
For more information about the Focus Electric and Ford’s electric vehicle strategy, visit www.facebook.com/fordelectrifiedvehicles.